National Poetry Month — Carl Sandburg

Well, now. This is going to be different. Today’s Poetry Conversation guests are my eight-year old son and my five year-old daughter. Okay, so probably not what you were expecting. But due to circumstances beyond our control, we were in a bind. And a conversation about poetry makes a wonderful ending to a bit of a fidgety day.

Today’s poem is:


by Carl Sandburg

THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Okay, so to tell you the truth, I finished reading it and the five-year old jumped up and shrugged and said, “I don’t even know what is haunches.”

Uh-oh. Down one conversationalist.

But the eight-year old hung in there and really found this poem fascinating. He said, "Do you think he (the author) said like cat’s feet because you can’t hear little cat feet and you can’t hear the fog?"

Dingdingding, with no prompting from me. Easy enough for an eight year old.

I asked him what else about cats might remind us of fog. He read the poem again. He thought. He laughed when the dog burped into the silence. And then he said, "You know how cats just sit there and stare? And then they go off and stare at something else and you don’t even know why? That’s kind of like the clouds when they’re really low. It creeps in while you’re asleep and by the time you get out of school, it’s gone."

This is true, especially where we live in our city.

So the eight-year old decided we could write our own version since we have a dog and not a cat. This is what he came up with:

Happiness comes
on little dog’s feet.

It bounces in slobbering
over your heart and face
on clicky-clack feet
and doesn’t stop till bedtime.

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And I thought that was a perfect Poetry Conversation.

17 thoughts on “National Poetry Month — Carl Sandburg

    1. I’ve always loved Fog too.

      And I found it interesting that my son went for an emotion. What comes on little dog’s feet? Why, happiness, of course. He could have said, “Slobber comes on little dog’s feet.” He could have gone for the abstract comparison, but he thought about how it made him feel when he was looking for the words. There’s no deep thought or point about what I’m saying here, and perhaps the truth of it is that he’s not ready to make an abstract metaphor and that it was easier for him to go to the emotion. I just thought it was fun that when he thinks “dog”, he thinks “happiness”. πŸ™‚

  1. I love this, Kristy! It’s the perfect poetry conversation. And your poem is lovely! My cow of a dog has clompity-clomp feet and his don’t stop till bedtime either, but, like yours, he’s pure happiness through and through. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! This is an even more fun part: Now my son won’t stop saying “clicky-clack feet”. He thought of it and used it and now is very pleased with himself at the sound of it. Which I find thrilling!

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